Source Pravda.Ru

New Jersey accuses oil companies of price gouging

New Jersey has sued three oil companies and several gas stations for allegedly gouging drivers during Hurricane Katrina.

The lawsuits accuse Hess, Motiva Shell and Sunoco with artificially inflating gas prices and for increasing prices more than the once-a-day legal limit. Independent gas station operators selling Hess, Shell, Sunoco and Citgo brands were also sued.

"The goal here is to protect consumers' hard-earned money from artificial inflation and economic exploitation," New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey said Monday. "Some of these dealers were using Katrina to artificially inflate the price, because there were sufficient supplies that this kind of pricing did not have to occur."

The civil action is believed to be the first in the United States in response to recent rising gasoline prices. The defendants are accused of violating New Jersey's motor fuels and consumer fraud acts, according to the AP.

The investigation began after consumers started complaining about steep and sudden rises in gas prices in the beginning of September. New Jersey gas prices hit their highest-ever levels on Sept. 5, at an average of $3.16 per 1 gallon (Ђ2.60 per 3.8 liters) of regular gas.

The complaint also claims that drivers were charged for more gasoline than they received, or that they were charged for premium gas but given regular.

The lawsuits seek restitution for customers who were overcharged, Harvey said.

Anne Peebles, a spokeswoman for Motiva Shell, said she did not know of the lawsuit but said the company does not "condone price-gouging and we work closely with local officials in any investigation."

Jay Wilson, a vice president at Hess, said he hadn't seen the suit and would not comment. Sunoco did not return calls.

Fines are up $10,000 (Ђ8,300) for Consumer Fraud Act violations and up to $200 (Ђ170) for violating the Motor Fuels Act.

Photo by BBC.

Comments
US-led coalition strikes Assad's army in Syria
US-led coalition strikes Assad's army in Syria
Russia demands USA should destroy chemical weapons and declassify Novichok files
Russia demands USA should destroy chemical weapons and declassify Novichok files
Russia demands USA should destroy chemical weapons and declassify Novichok files
Russia demands USA should destroy chemical weapons and declassify Novichok files
Should Russia return to G8?
Russia demands USA should destroy chemical weapons and declassify Novichok files
Russia demands USA should destroy chemical weapons and declassify Novichok files
Russia demands USA should destroy chemical weapons and declassify Novichok files
Russia demands USA should destroy chemical weapons and declassify Novichok files
Russia demands USA should destroy chemical weapons and declassify Novichok files
US-led coalition strikes Assad's army in Syria
The ways of return in the twentieth century
Russia to cover Cuba with power plants net
Russia spends over $11 billion on 2018 World Cup
Russians start protesting against retirement age law
Russia sends assault ships to counter US aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean Sea
Saudi footballers to be punished for losing World Cup opener to Russia
Kim-Trump Summit: A step in the right direction?
Kim-Trump Summit: A step in the right direction?